We have two companion posts, one called “Top 10 Reasons for Being – and Staying – Monogamous,” the other called “Top 10 Reasons for Being — and Staying — NON-Monogamous.” We intended each as encouragement for those people who prefer to be in their particular kind of relationship, not as indictments of one another. But home-team loyalty runs deep. And some readers are great cheerleaders. This week, reader Cat took a scalpel to our defense of non-monogamy. ([Italics in brackets] indicate excerpts from our original post that Cat is referencing.)
1. [“It’s natural…Monogamy didn’t arise until fairly late in human history.”] I’m pretty sure monogamy is natural too, at least in the context that it is in our nature under environmental and societal situations. I think you mean non-monogamy is more primitive?
2. [“The fact that terms like divorce, cheating, adultery, infidelity, slut, player, etc and industries like prostitution and pornography exist at all is a testament to the fact that sexual variety is a basic human need.”] You mention “divorce, cheating, adultery, infidelity” — these exist in non-monogamous relationships as well.
3. [“Families can reap significant benefits from sharing the all-consuming workload of parenting among a number of loving, devoted adults.”] Not sure what validity there is in this one, seeing as you can have family members or close friends help you through crises too.
4. [“Variety can be hot.”] Not everyone looks at porn, but it’s a fair point that people can appreciate others’ beauty.
5. [“Committed relationships are best when we take the risk to be intimate and vulnerable. But there is no requirement to hand over to any other person the power to completely devastate us if they have a fling with another lover.”] I’m pretty sure you’re being intimate and vulnerable in monogamous relationships as well, seeing as you’re letting someone know who you truly are and essentially living and growing together with that individual. Are you saying that it is more prevalent in non-monogamous relationships because you’re adding in other factors? [Em & Lo note: “No, we’re saying that just because you’re intimate and vulnerable with someone doesn’t automatically mean you have to demand strict monogamy, or that you have to succumb to negative feelings of jealousy and possessiveness should that partner want to explore other intimate relationships.]
6. [“Human sexual orientation is fluid.”] This is up to the individual.
7. [“With non-monogamy, you don’t have to choose between never getting those needs or wants satisfied and throwing away the entire relationship, just for the freedom to find the kind of sex you want with someone else.“] Sounds like a personal problem between the individual and their S/O, I don’t believe adding others will strengthen anything though.
8. [“Some people are turned on by the thought of their lover having sex with another person, and there are, of course, many other fantasies and desires that involve more than one person in the bed at a time.“] Fantasies are just that though, imagination without repercussions and risks that change the dynamic.
9. [“Disease, accidents, and mental health problems can rob a person of the desire or ability to function sexually. Why condemn their loving partner to a sexless, or dramatically limited, love life from that point forward?“] It sounds like you’re saying monogamous couples aren’t open and flexible, but that’s not the case: plenty of monogamous couples are open and honest to each other about their feelings, and discuss matters all time, but assuming you mean sexually there are always ways to adjust. [Em & Lo note: We do mean sexually. If one partner suddenly can’t have sex for some reason, non-monogamy is a way to keep the primary couple together without having to deny the second partner all sex.]
10. [“Extra scrabble partners.”] Scrabble ain’t exclusive to polygamous people. 😛 [Em & Lo note: That’s why we wrote pretty much the same #10 for our post defending monogamy: “Scrabble. Enough said.” 😛 back atcha!]